Aug. 9, 2014
BEAUMONT, Texas -
Lamar's running backs took center stage at Provost Umphrey Stadium Saturday morning as the Cardinals held their first of three fall scrimmages. Lamar's ground attack finished the day with 29 carries for 160 yards and one score. The 2014 Southland Conference Freshman of the Year carried the ball four times for 12 yards on the first series and his day was done as the backs put their skills on display.
"I really liked what I saw today," said head coach Ray Woodard, as he prepares to enter his fifth season on the Lamar sidelines. "There was a lot of energy out there on both sides of the ball, which can be a hard thing to do in this kind of heat. I really liked what I saw on both sides of the ball. We have things we need to improve on, but I like where we are at to this point in camp."
Memphis transfer Carl Harris finished the scrimmage with a team-high nine carries for 26 yards, while sophomore Emmitt Raleigh proved he could carry the load if called upon to do so pounding out 24 yards on eight carries.
Seven different players recorded a rush in the scrimmage, including redshirt freshman quarterback Robert Mitchell. Although the Beaumont native only attempted one pass, he broke off the two most impressive runs of the day. Mitchell ended the day with two carries for 50 yards, including a 30-yard scamper for a score.
Quarterbacks Caleb Berry and Rex Dausin were perfect on the day combining to complete all five of their attempts for 110 yards. Berry hooked up with preseason All-Southland receiver Reggie Begelton for a 58-yard completion, and with sophomore Michael Handy from 30 yards out. The impressive thing about the completion to Begelton wasn't the yards, but the speed on display by sophomore Xavier Bethany to prevent what appeared to be a score for the offense.
Freshman Shawn Jones
stood out for the LU defense in his first scrimmage in a Cardinals uniform. The Jasper High School product led Lamar with five tackles. Junior Logan Moss
added four stops. Sophomore Zach Johnson
ended the day with two tackles but both went for losses, including one sack.
Senior Kevin Johnson recorded two tackles, and also recorded a game-changing moment for the defense. Following an Eddie McGill forced fumble, Johnson picked up the loose ball on the 25-yard line and returned it 75 yards untouched for the score.
"Our defense is improving every day," said Woodard. "The talent is there, but you can tell they haven't played together long. We have to develop some depth there, but it's coming along. I'm excited about the talent we have. I'm really impressed with their speed. Our defense can really fly around after the football."
The Cardinals resume with their normal practice schedule Monday following an off day Sunday. Tuesday the Cards will hit the field for a 5:30 a.m. practice and will be off until Wednesday evening. The second scrimmage is slated for Saturday, Aug. 16th. It will kick off at 7 p.m. from Provost Umphrey Stadium.